Comparison of sonic qualities of some tonearms

I’m relatively new to the world of vinyl, listening seriously for probably only 2 years.  Of course, many big picture items (e.g. turntable, phono stage, cartridges) are discussed extensively on this forum, but I haven’t seen much discussion comparing different tonearms.  I would be interested to hear about different people’s experiences with different tonearms, mentioning the audible advantages and disadvantages of each tonearm, realizing that there is no perfect sound, although from what I read about others’ experiences, SAT tonearms may come closest, albeit at a very high price.  


I might add that my best results with the Viv are using either a Yamamoto or Oyaide carbon fiber headshell, over the OEM metal headshell but the sample size is too small to justify an unqualified conclusion.  And I own the 9-inch aluminum version, which I failed to mention above. So, CF headshell on alu Viv.

@tomic601 Panzerwood? That stuff is ugly as h-ll. Send me a template and I will make you a handsome one out of Rosewood or Ebony. Both are extremely dense having a specific gravity almost as high as water. I laminate it with 1/16" thick aluminum plate. You can drill and tap holes for screws.  

@lewm Did you forget that I am a dog. I have respect for the fact that you were brave enough to try it. I tried the Transcriptor's Vestigial Arm. Looking back on it, that was more stupid than brave. 

@rauliruegas I would like to emphasize your point on having a reference. 

When tuning a HiFi system you have to have some idea of where you are going. You have to have a reference. You have to know what is possible with the very best systems, which is why listening to serious high end systems is so important even if you can not spend that kind of money. Never say you can't get that kind of sound out of a less expensive system. People would be surprised how close they can get with careful equipment choice, attention to detail and good room management. 

I briefly owned a Transcriptors Reference TT with Vestigial tonearm. I think it was the tonearm that motivated me to sell it, but our ideas, and my own knowledge, of tonearm characteristics was quite limited back then (1980s). 

@lewm I am very pleased to witness your statement, That you are very pleased with your Viv investigation and that there is a indelible recollection of a Blissful Memory of a particular permutation for it's use.

I know this experience, which I will suggest is one that is quite discernable and a betterment over previous commonly encountered experiences.

As for my best experience with my Tonearm of choice, it is when a group of  Like Minded friends were visitors and among the banter and spread of food, they were just so influenced by the presentation and ended up re-evaluation their own vinyl sources.

@mijostyn As for P'holz, I have encountered it veneered with beautiful Cocobolo and Pippy Maple, as well as Polished Metal.

I take both life and my P'holz neat